Rory McIlroy’s FedEx Cup victory, clinched at the Tour Championship on Sunday, was the Northern Irishman at his very best.
To bogey the first hole but still card a 66 that was enough to pip overnight leader and world No1 Scottie Scheffler was nothing short of magnificent.
McIlroy himself remarked how proud he felt at that final round performance – strong words from someone so good, which tells you all you need to know.
When he went to bed on Saturday night, having played so well all week but still trailing Scheffler by six shots, he would have known there was a glimmer of a chance.
It all changed on the front nine, though, with McIlroy playing the first seven holes in three under par and Scheffler dropping three on the first six.
Rory took it all in his stride. The four-time major winner didn’t hole a lot of putts but he did play some incredible golf.
It was all the more remarkable considering that it came so soon after his huge disappointment at the Open Championship last month.
He must have been so hurt by missing out at St Andrews, where he took 36 putts on his final round and saw Cameron Smith take the Claret Jug instead.
But now he has become the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times and, in my opinion, is once again the best in the world.
In fact I think he is getting better and better. His short irons are more controlled now and he is absolutely flying.
I don’t want to overstate the effect of McIlroy flying the flag for the PGA Tour in its current tug of war with LIV Golf, but I think it has inspired him on some level.
He has made no secret of his feelings about what is going on in world golf and it feels like there is an element of him wanting to show those involved in the rival series what they’re missing.
The fact that he played the first two rounds at East Lake alongside Smith – rumoured to be the latest big player to join LIV Golf – will, I think, only have motivated him further.
With two wins including the Tour Championship and top-10 finishes at all of the majors, this is McIlroy’s best season since 2014.
It’s extraordinary that it has been eight years since his last major win but I am sure there is so much more to come from him.
Rory is a wonderful athlete, a great human being and I don’t think he has even been better. He now seems to have everything in place to be his very best. The only shame is that we have to wait so long until the next major.
Scheffler, meanwhile, has also had an incredible year and winning the FedEx Cup would have been the icing on the cake.
He will be disappointed not to have done that but has now got a great adversary in McIlroy.
Sam Torrance OBE is a former Ryder Cup-winning captain and one of Europe’s most successful golfers. Follow him @torrancesam